Czech star Jiri Vesely stormed into the singles semi-finals at the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra with a sensational three-set victory against Ilya Ivashka of Belarus at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune.
India’s only hope for the title in South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament, in-form pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja will face a challenge from third-seeded Jonathan Erich and Andrei Vasilevski in the second doubles semi-finals on Saturday. The duo entered last-4 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Leander Paes and Matthew Ebden on Thursday. Meanwhile, Andre Goransson and Christopher Rungkat overcame Romain Arneodo and Andre Begemann 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) in the first doubles semi-finals on Friday.
The 26-year-old Vesely, despite losing the first set 6-2, made an unlikely comeback to win the second set 6-1. The third set saw both the players giving a tough fight which went to the decider. However, the former World No. 35 Vesely, who upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo in 2016, managed to hold the edge over his opposition to complete come from behind 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (13-11). "It was a very close match. I think I was definitely lucky. I felt he deserved it more than I do at the end of the match. We both were very nervous," Vesely told media after the match.
In another hard-fought quarter-finals match in India's premier ATP 250 event whihc is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra, second-seed Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania recovered well after the first set setback to register 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory against Japan's Yuichi Sugita.
(Singles qurter-finals) Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (13-11); Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
(Doubles semi-finals) Andre Goransson and Christopher Rungkat bt Romain Arneodo and Andre Begemann 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).